Open Bargaining: The Federation is continuing to push for ground rules that allow observers at bargaining sessions, and the administration is continuing to object. If ground rules cannot be agreed to, bargaining will proceed without them, and the Federation will either broadcast, livestream, or record bargaining sessions for members. Our preference is to come to an agreement with administration on observers, perhaps by turning off cameras and muting microphones, but closed-door bargaining sessions violate our commitment to transparency with members and are therefore unacceptable.
COLA: The administration’s opening proposal was to lower the COLA increase from 2.5% to 1.0% in each of 2021-22 and 2022-23. Obviously lowering COLAs is unacceptable considering:
- The college has received $54 million in federal pandemic relief funding
- The college has saved millions of dollars due to facilities closures, a hiring freeze, and fewer class sections offered due to the enrollment decline.
- Members have suffered financial hardship due to the cascading effects of the pandemic, wildfires, and power outages
Our counter-offer was as follows:
- Increase COLA—from 2.5% to 8.3% in 2021-22, and from 2.5% to 7% in 2022-23.
The two sides are always far apart in the beginning—the point of bargaining is to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. The Federation remains open to counteroffers, including a permanent percentage increase, a phase in, lumpsum stipends, or some combination. But rather than accept this as the reasonable opening offer it was, the administration seemed shocked by the Federation’s expectation that the College would pass along some relief aid to its employees. The admin team called our offer “outrageous” and “unbelievable” and said they’d never seen anything like this. After those comments, they left the online meeting.
Our next bargaining meeting is May 19. We are hoping for a reasonable counter offer from administration—one that includes allowing observers as well as increasing their original offer on COLA.